Conversation about menstruation is typically something kept on the margins of American society, but organizations at Ursinus are looking to change that. The sisters of Kappa Delta Kappa, Tau Sigma Gamma, Omega Chi, Tri Sigma, Phi Alpha Psi, along with the Peer Advocates, FIA, and the Whitians Society teamed up for a Period Product Drive after spring break. The Period Product Drive raised awareness about a lack of accessibility to feminine hygiene products for lower income women, and had collection bins around campus for products such as tampons and pads.
This is the first year Ursinus students have done a feminine products drive. Philanthropy Chair of KDK and President of the Whitians Lauren Feld- man said, “As a group of people who experience menstruation, we wanted to help others who go through the same. There are many people, about 1 in 4, who are unable to afford period products.”
Sydney Cope, president of Kappa Delta Kappa, added, “We as an organization had mentioned doing a period product drive… but hadn’t nailed down an exact organization, but two of my sisters are participating in intern- ships at this organization and let us know that they do accept feminine hygiene products…the donations are going to the Mitzvah Circle Foundation, which is a non-profit organization based in Harleysville, PA.”
According to the Mitzvah Circle Foundation website their Period Supply Program aims to “to increase access to period supplies for women and girls who do not have resources to obtain these essentials. Without them, women and girls miss work and school.”
Cope explained a bit more about the foundation and its mission and why the groups on campus choose to focus on collecting period supplies. “Those in need request assistance and supplies from the foundation, they take a range of donations from diapers to clothes and shoes, school supplies, and a ton more,” Cope said. “However, the product in need much of the time in poverty situations are menstruation products for women. Many times those experiencing poverty cannot afford basic products to get them through and we wanted to help support a local organization in helping those in need.”
These Ursinus organizations also accepted donations via Venmo for this cause as well as taking physical donations which could be left in boxes on campus.
The drive has been getting a lot of attention since it started. “So far we’ve received a lot of donations, we’ve had to empty the boxes out a few times so that they weren’t overflowing with products!” says Cope. “Given that this is our first year, we are really excited to see the turnout and support that we’ve received from all over campus and hope to continue doing this drive regularly.”
By the time the drive ended on Sunday, Feldman said they had collected, “a couple of large boxes filled with pads and tampons! We also received over $100 through Venmo.”
The groups plan to organize a drive again in the future.
Feldman said, “This was the first time we decided to do this collection drive and I think we got a great amount of donations! We definitely want to continue to support individuals who experience menstruation and to support the work that the Mitzvah Circle Foundation is doing.”
Additional reporting by Courtney Duchene.